Heritage Guitars is a cool guitar company
This is a guitar company you already know, even if you didn't know it.
A guitar company I've known about for a while is Heritage Guitars. And the entire reason I know about them is because of their location. Kalamazoo, Michigan. It's not that I've ever been to Kalamazoo. It's that they build guitars in the exact same place Gibson used to.
Here's the very quick story of Heritage: Gibson originally used the factory up until 1984 and then moved to another state. Some of the employees obviously didn't want to leave Michigan, so they pooled resources together, bought the old Gibson factory, and that's how Heritage Guitars came into existence. They've been building guitars ever since...
...and they're damned good instruments. A lot of what they make uses old world style guitar building, and it's done right.
When I went to NAMM 2015, Heritage wasn't there. If they had been, I would have most certainly gone to their booth.
They were however at the Dallas International Guitar Festival I just went to recently, and I finally got to play an H150 model for the first time.
It was as good as I hoped it would be, and more.
The guitar I really wanted to see was the H150 in a finish called Dirty Lemon Burst. This is a finish that is as far as I know exclusive to Heritage. Only they make it, and there's less than 100 of them in existence. Yes, it was there. And it was a treat to play it.
This model in the Dirty Lemon Burst finish is available at the moment for $2,499. But before I discuss price in greater detail, I have to talk about that finish more.
There is absolutely no photo anywhere online that accurately shows how much this finish really pops. Professional photos of it obviously exist on the Heritage web site, but even that still doesn't show how crazy-good the color is. It is absolutely a custom shop style finish that goes far above and beyond the price the guitar sells for.
As far as how it sounds, it has the exact set of humbuckers I would otherwise put into it myself, the Seymour Duncan '59 set. I just talked about these recently. These things are voiced to sound like vintage PAFs. Perfectly suited for classic rock tones. The H150 is absolutely not a shredder guitar with super-hot output pickups (thank God).
Concerning weight, it has some heft but isn't boat anchor heavy. The first thing I said out loud when I picked it up is that it didn't have the weight of a Gibson Les Paul Traditional - which is a good thing. LP Traditionals usually weigh at least 9.5lbs. The H150 weighs less, thankfully. I actually got along with it quite nicely.
The neck felt fantastic, and the rosewood fingerboard was one of the nicest cuts I've ever seen. I actually thought it was ebony at first because the cut was so nice.
Standing next to me in the photo above is master builder Pete Farmer. He chatted with me a little bit as well as anyone else that wanted to ask him about what he and the other guys at Heritage are making. And being one of the builders, he will of course build whatever you want as a custom order if you like.
Is the H150 worth the $2,499? Actually, it's worth more than that. For those who have been following me a while, yeah I know it's weird to hear me say that as I champion cheap guitars. But this is different. Heritage is not some new company that sprouted up and started making copies of something else. They've been around for almost 25 years, know what they're doing, and the H150 is a continuation of a classic.
Heritage makes their single cut electric like Gibson used to make theirs, but with just enough modernization to keep it both classic and modern at the same time. That's no small feat. It has every single upgrade most Les Paul players would put into their guitars in the first place, matched with build quality that is second to none.
I think the best compliment I can give the H150 is that it just felt so solid. It's not some dainty thing. The guitar was made to be played.
The H150 one of the very few guitars in the 4-figure range where I can absolutely say yes, you really do get what you pay for here. More so, actually.
I was glad I finally got the chance to play one.